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Do you have to have the destination card in your hand to claim that specific route? Or can you claim it without having the destination card?

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    The wording of your question is unclear. The use of "the destination card" implies you think there is a single specific card, and "claim the destination" implies that you are talking about claiming the points for the destination card (which goes between nonadjacent cities), rather than claiming a route between adjacent cities. – Acccumulation Jan 2 at 18:06
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You can claim any unoccupied route between any two locations (that does not require passing through a third location) at any time. You do not require a destination ticket showing either location, and it doesn't have to be connected to any of your other routes. You only need:

  1. Sufficient trains to cover the route.
  2. Sufficient cards to pay for it.
  3. You don't already control the other route between the same locations.
  4. No other player controls the other route between the same locations in [2-3 players only].*

* Note that the number of players that restrict the use of additional routes varies between versions of Ticket to Ride. For example, extra routes are only blocked in 2-player games of Ticket to Ride: New York and Switzerland.

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    +1, with one exception. In 2- or 3-player games, routes with two tracks (e.g., NY to Boston) can only have a single player claim them, even though there are two routes available. – mmathis Jan 2 at 0:42
  • One other exception is that you can't claim both of the routes if they are in play – Styxsksu Jan 2 at 14:45
  • @Styxsksu edited in. It's amazing how quickly the corner cases add up. – Jontia Jan 2 at 15:00
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    But we all know player who would take advantage of the corner cases if they were not spelled out in the rules. – Styxsksu Jan 2 at 15:04
  • I don't understand how they expect the game to work without it, routes are not one city to the next city over, so no route card would let you play a route in this scenario ever. – Andrew Mar 8 at 14:56

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